Feature Film: THE RACE EPIDEMIC, 60min., USA, Documentary

Winner of the best documentary award of the Chinese American film festival, The Race Epidemic is about another outbreak caused by Covid-19 – An epidemic of racism against Asian Americans. With a politicized pandemic sweeping through the country and a president calling it the Chinese Virus, the rise of attacks and hate against Asian Americans is not surprising. Can naming a virus after an ethnic of people cause the outbreak of an epidemic of hate? Or is it something hidden deeper within American society? “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” The film takes a close examination of xenophobia and racism against Asian Americans caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.

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Director Biography – Tony Shyu

Tony Shyu is a noted American director and an award-winning screenwriter. Tony serves as director and producer. The PSA he directed for API Vote starring George Takei, John Cho, and Constance Wu won the 2016 Videographer award.

He is also currently in production on Macau Omen (2018), a full-length feature film that has won numerous awards including Best Screenplay at the 2012 Gotham film awards. His short film, Macau Twilight (2008), was an official selection at the BFI London Film Festival. Tony also wrote, directed, and produced a feature film, Tequila Body Shots (1999), which was distributed by Lionsgate.

Tony received his B.A. and M.F.A. in film from the renowned Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, which is known for creating visual storytellers.

Director Statement

As a person of color who grew up in the United States, I have experienced many incidents of discrimination during my teenage years because of my ethnicity. As a result, making this film was very personal to me. It brought out many familiar, yet hurtful, memories. With hate crimes targeting people of color on the rise, I felt I needed to make this film. A film about what the foundation of this country was established upon. Thus, we explore the phrase, “all men are created equal.” The story examines what the idea of America means in the current political climate and how we got here.

I love film storytelling because it’s a form that is quite structured and confined compared to other creative art forms. The structure forces me to bring what seems chaotic into what is orderly. It gives me control over how to communicate my ideas clearly with visuals.

What I love about this documentary is that it’s just like any other format of filmmaking, except with more truth to it, and therefore more impact. Documentary filmmaking takes a fact-based event and constructs an authentic meaning behind it. When the filmmaker’s idea is clear, the audience will feel and understand what the filmmaker feels. It is the genuine power of filmmaking, and it is what I hope this film will do, to share the idea in a truthful and meaningful way with the world.

Thank you,
Tony Shyu

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